Thursday, 25 March 2010

Chester FC gets the nod from fans

Chester FC was announced as the new name for the reformation of Chester City FC last night, after 70% voted in favour of going back to the old name used prior to 1983.

City Fans United announced the news at midnight last night, and fans who voted for the name, as well as those who didn't but enjoyed going to Sealand Road to watch the Blues will be delighted at the decision arrived at by the Blues faithful.

The final voting was as follows:

Chester FC - 70%
City of Chester FC - 16%
FC Chester - 9%
Chester Rovers FC - 5%

It was a resounding majority win then for Chester FC then, and that is the latest step taken towards bringing the club back to the supporters, with the next vital step being to secure the lease on the Deva Stadium - hopefully the Council will see fit to assign the lease over to the new club, and we can properly get ready for seeing a Chester side run out at the Deva in August.

I'm personally delighted at the fact that Chester FC has been voted the number one name, as it really does keep the history of the old club going, 125 years of history did not die the other week, it was merely broken, and now the CFU are gluing those cracks together again, to make sure that life continues for Chester City fans.

There will be plenty of exciting times to come soon, with debates over the club badge, the kit, Manager, and Players of course - but we need the ground first before we can plan for any of that.

One thing to come out of yesterday was the fact that any approach made by anyone wishing to apply to reform the club in the same way CFU have done, will actually be re-directed on to the CFU as the FA will only deal with the one application, so it means the likes of the Vaughan family - if they wanted to reform the club - would have to contact City Fans United in a bid to try and work with them on the future of Chester FC.

Four words...NEVER...GOING...TO...HAPPEN!

"We're Chester!"

Monday, 22 March 2010

It's Chester FC for me!

Well, whilst Man Utd, Arsenal, and Chelsea battle it out for top spot in the Premier League, a different kind of battle is going on in the dramatic world of Chester fans.

The chance to rename the club, and make it the fans club!

The decision to allow the public of Chester, and in general, the community of Chester fans around the world, was a unanimous decision by the CFU board, as we want everyone to feel that this is their club - that's the way it has to be from now on, as the wheel slowly begins to turn towards supporters owning their own football clubs following years of mis-management.

So, what about the names then?

Well, there are four on offer, Chester FC, City of Chester FC, Chester Rovers FC, and FC Chester.

My own personal favourite has to be Chester FC. It's the name of the club I started to follow, just prior to it changing to Chester City FC, and it's the name associated with our most successful era back in the 1970's, before all the troubles began, so what better reason to return to that name.

Chester FC would also mean that our 125 year history is also well and truly intact, and would ensure that any associated with the old Chester FC would be involved with the new one, players that used to don the Seals shirts would still be recognised as former players of the reformed club - it all adds up for me.

So, what about the other names then?

City of Chester FC just doesn't sit right with me, it feels like one of those University type team names, or something off the kids programme "We Are The Champions", or even "It's a Knockout" and I just cannot get excited about it, add that to the fact that as many people have stated, we'd become an abbreviation of COC FC, that definitely doesn't work for me, we've been labelled Jester and Deviants by the Wrexham lot over the past few decades, the last thing we need is to give them more ammunition, for them to call us proper COC's!

Chester Rovers?

This one is definitely for the historians, as Chester Rovers was the very first name used by the club back in 1885, but for me, is too close to Tranmere Rovers now, and that does not sit right with me - I don't think I could get my adrenalin going singing "Rovers" - no not for me.

The final option is FC Chester, and that one isn't too bad, but it's probably more of an attempt to be a bit more continental, maybe we should have had this when Terry Smith was at the club with all of the foreigners he brought in!

The votes close at 11pm on Tuesday night, and the results are revealed just over 24 hours later on the official CFU site where it will feel like one of those new book or album launches at HMV where the shops open at Midnight - only this will be a momentus occasion as far as Chester fans are concerned, so get the pro-plus ready for the day after!

Either way, its set to be a historic moment in the lastest chapter in the reformed club's history, as CFU continue to make progress to the new era of football in Chester, let's just hope that we are talking about on the pitch matters comewhat August!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A sad week, but the future is bright

I decided I'd wait a few days to update this blog, as it was always going to be difficult waving goodbye to the club I'd followed since I was 7 years old, but at 11.12am on Wednesday, that finally happened - the fact that Chester City failed to send anyone to defend the winding up summed the club's owners up, Stephen Vaughan had finally wrecked the club in the space of 30 seconds - that's all it took for the Judge to put the hammer down on Chester City's existence.

I've lots of emotions flying around towards the Scouser, who has systematically reduced the football club I love to its knees, but I refuse to give in, this is where the future starts - no more Vaughan family, no more shit to take, this is our chance as supporters to make sure the club in essence lives on.

Having done more and more interviews with the local & national media this week, I am more than determined to make sure that the people of Chester have a team to watch in August - there is no alternative in my eyes - even though several local clubs have offered this, that & the other to Chester fans to get a footy fix - I just cannot do it, for me it has to be watching Chester at the Deva.

That's why I have backed the idea of what City Fans United are doing so much, this is the way forward, and so far the signs are very very encouraging - the Council have met us a few times now, and the feelings are that they want the same as us, a football club the city can be proud of - it can't be that difficult surely - just those in charge of the club decided to do nothing to engage the local community in the last 20 years.

Seeing the former players wanting to do more for the CFU's plans has been extremely heartening, and only the other night, I received a call from Chester's legendary goalkeeper in the 70's & 80's, Grenville Millington, telling me that it was great that we were spreading the word across the likes of Radio 5, and offered to do anything he could to assist us in our aim of breathing new life into Chester Football Club.

That said it all for me, the ex-players want it as much as we do, they were the ones I stood on the Sealand Road end supporting, and now they were the ones giving me encouragement to keep doing what we're doing.

It wasn't just Grenville. The likes of midfield maestro of the 80's Milton Graham, legend & City's highest ever goalscorer Stuart Rimmer, Paul Carden - the last Chester player to lift a trophy high, Elfed Morris, who sent me a text that choked me so much I cou;ldn't speak for hours, Eddie Bishop, stating his disbelief that the Club was heading the way of liquidation, Iain Jenkins, who spoke so highly of a club he came to love - I could go on, but I would probably end up in tears!

They confirmed to me that we the supporters own the history of the club, and we will take that forward with us, the great name of Chester Football Club needs a band aid right fixed to it right now, and get the Community going again - let's not forget the run in 74/75 (gutted mind that I was only 1 year old when that started so missed quite possibly the best season in Chester's history!), where the likes of Terry Owen & John "Jesse" James beat the League Champions Leeds United 3-0 at Sealand Road in front of nearly 20,000, now I accept the game has changed since then, but emotions certainly haven't.

I want to see those days again, and I won't rest again until I do - they may be a long way off, but I won't stop trying to get there - and I'm sure other Chester fans won't either.

In fact, right now seems to be an apt time to state that I have never worked together with such a group of professionals as I am doing now with the CFU committee. Everyone on that committee has been up their knees in it in their own workplace - but has still managed to throw everything at what we are trying to achieve for our football club.

The committee and myself I'm sure I can state, are after no recognition, we just want the same as everyone else - to be able to start watching football at the Deva again on a hot sunny afternoon at the Deva - okay we'll settle for miserable weather just as long as the match takes place.

I've followed Chester for 30 years now, and many more have followed for more, some for less, but we all have the same thing in common - desire to see our club do well.

I've had so many messages of support in the last couple of weeks, it would be remiss of me not to mention my thanks to all of those - there have also been a tiny minority of people who have sent e-mails criticising our support of the liquidation of the club - what I would say to those people, is what do you think would have happened come May?

We would have been unable to fulfil fixtures, the club would have been an even bigger embarrassment and the Conference would certainly have booted us out at that stage, and if we were lucky, the Unibond would have accepted us, but with players not being paid for 4 months, the club would have folded then, and the difference being there would have been no time to ensure that football continued at the Deva in August - what the March 10th decision means is that we are now given time to reform the club, and get into the football pyramid - of course the Council hold the keys to the Deva, but they also hold the key to whether or not it wants football to continue in Chester - I am confident that they do.

I would ask those who were critical of the CFU to give the reformed club a chance - remember we wanted the same as you - a club to support - but this waas taken away by one family, one some of those people actually believed would do the best for the club - not a chance.

Then we come to the selection of the name for the reformed club, for me it's clear, we are Chester, and to retain the history of the club, my own personal choice is Chester Football Club, it would keep the identity going, and also make sure the former players would still be attached to the reformed club, and it would just be like going back to the good old days before the bad times came about, clapping and singing "We're Chester" on the terraces again.

There is a lot of work to be done still, and I know the committee are doing all we can to give the fans what they most desire, and we will not rest until we have secured that aim.

On a personal note, I've loved doing all the interviews, I even managed 12 on my lunch hour at work the other day, and paid for it with the driest of throats, but it made that pint in midweek all the more delicious. It's great to see that the CFU have managed to tap in to the national media now, having spoken to BBC, ITV, Sky, Radio 5, Talk Sport, and a host of internet sites, and the national papers - we really have got our message across.

It was great to go on Colin Murray's sports show on Friday night, and get our first two signings of the season - should we be successful in our efforts to reform the club - Colin pledged to pay £2000 if his guests Perry Groves, and ex-Evertonian Pat Nevin were named as unused substitutes for next season - that was a deal done in seconds, and I'm sure both will attend the Deva next season!

A couple of things I have to mention - the fans from across the country have been superb, and have sent messages of support to all Chester fans, they want us back on the footballing map as soon as possible, abd can't believe we have been treated so badly.

Finally, a word for Mrs Banks, who despite not liking football, has put up with me going on about it, becoming a stranger to our own house, with everything that's going on, and telling me that she will be there at the first home game of the new season - well someone needs to make the sandwiches don't they?

Only joking - everyone's support is very much appreciated!!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Vaughan targets Welsh Premier as eviction looms

It's been a quiet week as far as the Vaughan family are concerned, and so it was not a surprise when yesterday it was revealed that they were actually attempting to get access in to the Welsh Premier League, after being effectively kicked out of English football.

The Welsh League is pretty much a parting shot of Vaughan's in his latest desperate attempt to keep hold of the club name, which will surely disappear from the radar completely on Wednesday at the High Court, as the HMRC look to wind the club up, something which now seems all the more likely following the Conference's decision to remove the club from its competition.

An eviction notice will surely follow from Cheshire West & Chester Council, as they seek to remove the lease from the Vaughan family, and hopefully prepare it for the CFU, who have made significant strides into the set up of a continuation of the current club, ruined by Stephen Vaughan.

ll eyes will be on the Council, as its their taxpayers who they have to think about, and having not received the best part of a year's rent from the club, the onus will be on them to assign the lease to an organisation committed to paying their way.

Vaughan's latest attempt to get Chester City FC 2004 Ltd into a League should ensure he gets life membership into Ripley's Believe It Or Not! A sad act of desperation from a man who knows the end game is taking place.

As far as City Fans United are concerned there has been massive progress recently, with the membership now over 1000 (combined figures of CFU & Junior Blues), and the work going on behind the scenes from a "bunch of idiots" is as professional as you can get, and who are working their nuts off to try and make sure that the City of Chester has a football team to support in English football come August, and this week could be the defining week as far as that ambition is concerned.

So, another busy week is expected, having had the calm before the storm over the weekend, with the waters only stirred up by the latest Welsh football attempt by Vaughan.

Tune in for the next exciting episode of Devastation Street (sorry Tom, couldn't resist!) later this week!